US-based Garmin, a navigation systems provider, is planning to set up an assembly unit in India for its product range. This will help it drive costs lower and cater to a wider audience both in the aftermarket and to carmakers.

“We opened our India office about a month back. Till now, most of our sales were through distributors, while the devices were developed by a dedicated team in Taiwan. In three years, we should have a technical centre as well,” Mr Ali Rizvi, National Sales & Marketing Manager, Garmin India, said.

The company has a 41 per cent market share globally in GPS-based personal navigation devices (PND) which are used in cars or are hand-held. Prices of its PND devices range from Rs 8,500 to Rs 17,500, with a domestic market share of about 15 per cent. It also supplies products to aviation, marine and other outdoor applications such adventure sports.

Suzuki Tie-Up

Garmin expects to launch its connected car systems with domestic market leader Maruti Suzuki by around next year. Developed over the last two years, the in-dash system offers integrated Bluetooth, navigation and entertainment. Sales will start with the US market next month on models such as the SX4. It also supplies to Tata Motors, Honda, Volkswagen and Hyundai.

With competition coming in mostly from MMI, TomTom and domestic biggie MapmyIndia, Garmin is aiming to encourage the use of navigation devices in India by offering benefits such as free lifetime updates of maps and software. Its devices can also determine the shortest route between two destinations, while calculating the fuel used.

“We're launching a service next year where the device will calculate the best route to avoid traffic jams based on historical data of certain junctions. We're also doing regional languages and will have 10 on offer by the fourth quarter,” Mr Rizvi said.